Since moving to Sonoma County three months ago I have toiled to embrace the wine country lifestyle and all it has to offer. And if that means dining at phenomenal restaurants and visiting world-class wineries, so be it. I’m also enjoying the astounding bounty of locally grown and produced comestibles. (A fancy word for stuff you eat-- not blow up.) Anyway my friend James O'Reilly of Travelers Tales had been urging me to join Twitter since it launched. He also encouraged me to join Second Life way back when, so naturally I was dubious about what possible value this new media time suck might offer. (BTW: I'm not adverse to new technologies. I’ve worked in Tech for years and was involved with the launch of Travelocity and Opentable. I also worked on Netopia Virtual Office with GeoCities. Not sure if those last two even exist anymore.) But I finally caved in and joined Twitter at the end of 2008.
Recently I decided to go beyond the fourth wall of cyberspace and attend a real live twitter event. This was not your random tweet up kind of thing with crap pizza. This was a fully fleshed out extravaganza. The event was sponsored by Twitter Taste Live and Hospice du Rhone and hosted at ESTATE by Sondra Bernstein. The point is to meet in person to taste wines that are simultaneously tasted by others attending virtually via twitter. A big part of the event is the live feed of tweets that scroll out on a big screen. Unfortunately the day of the event was also the day Oprah joined twitter so there were all sorts of connection problems. Nonetheless, the event far exceeded my expectations. The people and the wines were exceptional.
Tablemates at the pre-taste dinner included Paige Granback and Chuck Hayward of the Jug Shop in San Francisco, Wine Marketer John Corcoran and Randall Grahm of Bonny Doon Vineyards. And all through the meal I kept having the deja-vu-y feeling that I'd previously met all these delightful and interesting characters. The next day, I realized why they all seemed so familiar. A month earlier I’d read Red, White, And Drunk All Over by Natalie MacLean so in effect, I had already met them through the pages of her book.
I was mostly unfamiliar with Rhone wines-- the bulk of my experience is with the wines of Italy-- but I was a convert by the end of the evening.
I also got to meet some of the players in the Wine Twitter space like @sonadora, @winebratsf and @sharayray among others. And oh yeah, did I mention I won the door prize? Yup real life has it’s perks.
So thank you to James for getting me on the twitter path and thank you to real life for delivering more than promised in the demo.